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Dream Theater - Awake CD (album) cover


Dream Theater


Progressive Metal

4.12 | 2068 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars The biggest obstacle to very accomplished musicians is writing songs that both show off their ability to smoke on their instruments as well as be memorable and listenable. For the most part, Dream Theatre (yeah, I know it's spelled "Theater", but the American spelling is silly) proves throughout Awake that they have all sorts of skill at their instruments, but aren't going to let good songs get in the way of things. A far cry from the Rush worship of their debut When Dream and Day Unite, Awake tends to put me right to sleep. To get an example of why this band is just so pompous, take a look at the opening track "6:00". The melody is somewhat catchy, but in the middle of the song, the band breaks into a very pompous solo section that does not fit the flow of the song at all. While you will hear some parts that are very well done, like the acoustic part in "The Silent Man", it's a strain to sit through the moments where they must be technically proficient. I'll just go back to bed, thanks.This album is much darker than Images and Words. The production is much crisper and colder and it sounds like the drummer, Mike Portnoy, finally got a chance to show what his drums really sound like. (Much of the drumming on Images was sent through an overly complex, un-dynamic triggering production process which eliminates any ability to convey softer/harder drum interaction. Portnoy was probably not happy.) The "Erotomania" track on the "Mind Beside Itself" trilogy (yes, very pompous and art-rocky, so what?) is a pretty nice instrumental, and "Lifting Shadows Off a Dream" is a nice, moody number reminiscent of U2. The album, however, isn't quite as fun as Images and Words, even if it surpasses Images at times. There are also hard and heavy grooves to be found, such as "The Mirror" and "Caught In a Web". This album's dark, electronic sound makes it somewhat more groundbreaking than its studio predecessor; however, there's nothing radically trailblazing here, just some good prog-metal songwriting and production. As long as you know what to expect, you won't be too disappointed (provided you have some liking of the genre).
fratelmaestro | 4/5 |


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